Economist and UNP MP Harsha de Silva who just returned from his Eisenhower Fellowship brought further glory to the country having been bestowed the rare honour of being named the Philip D. Reed Fellow; the only Sri Lankan to have been recognised with a named fellowship thus far.
Philip D. Reed was Chairman of the world’s largest conglomerate General Electric from 1940 to 1959 with an interruption from 1942 to 1945 during World War II to serve with the US Mission for Economic Affairs in London. He was also the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and served on many international organisations.
The 2011 Philip D. Reed honorary fellowship, one of only four named fellowships in honour of Trustees of the Eisenhower Fellowships, is awarded to the most outstanding Fellow from among the 20 multinational Fellows as well as the 10 US Fellows focusing on energy, environment, minority advancement or public policy. Harsha was honoured for his continuing outstanding contribution in public policy in Sri Lanka.
Harsha said he was overwhelmed by the Fellowship experience that enabled him to meet and discuss matters of importance with some of the most influential people in the US be it in politics, policymaking, academia and media.
At a number of meetings with senior officials of the US Government and the US Senate and with General Colin Powell, he took a national position on the current issue with respect to the Advisory Report of the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka.
He refused to take a partisan position on what he identified as a grave national issue and said his party was extending its full cooperation to the Government in respect of all genuine efforts to uphold the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
He however stated that the Government must take urgent steps to re-establish lost democracy in Sri Lanka and that the rights and dignity of victims of the conflict must receive appropriate relief.
He stated that the Government must engage with the United Nations and other international organisations for the promotion and protection of human rights in keeping with international human rights standards and Sri Lanka’s international obligations.